Firstly, I love swimming, in whatever form that comes. Luckily I have always swam regularly, and mostly front crawl. When my hip pain started I was initially able to continue normal swimming, but gradually found the kicking too much on my hips. Things I found helpful that you could use to keep you swimming as your pain increases;
- reduce your time/distance in the water
- avoid breaststroke
- place a pull buoy between your legs, to reduce/prevent kicking
After my PAO’s I was desperate to get back in the water, as it had always been my happy place. I had to wait 2 weeks post op and for my wound to heal before I could return to the pool. Post op you can complete ‘hydrotherapy’ in the pool, water-based exercise. This is commonly lead by physiotherapists. Simple things of walking without an aid in the water, feels like such a luxury!
Advantages of the pool post op;
- walking unaided
- muscle strengthening
- increase joint mobility
- improve movement patterns (which reduces pain)
- improve confidence
- improve muscular endurance
- reduce swelling
One of my favourite things to do in the water was walking forwards, backwards and sideways. My hips loved it. If you are able to swim in a public pool post op, I would highly recommend working out your entrance/exit from the pool in advance, and have someone around to support you.
Eventually I was able to return to swimming, but have not done breaststroke since before my hip pain. I stick to front crawl and back stroke. I gradually increased my swimming distance/time with my hydrotherapy exercises as my warm-up and cool down. I am now able to swim for over an hour, outdoors, pain free.